Search Results for -
Product Type: Toys
Age: Preschoolers
Categories: Vehicles

 


2005 Award
Thomas & Friends Water Tower Figure 8 Set
(RC2/Learning Curve $39.99 Score:) This 25-piece set is a great buy and gives beginners a great place to start. Includes Thomas, a cargo car, water tower, and stone bridge for a figure 8. For a larger set, consider Down by the Docks ($149.99/45 pieces ) with Sodor Bay Bridge, Lighthouse, and Crane. PLATINUM AWARD ’03. (800) 704-8697.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Thomas & Friend Sodor Scrub & Shine
(RC2/Learning Curve $46.99 Score:) Vehicles trigger the sounds, lights, and action of this wash for vehicles. Also fun, a small Toll Booth Bridge $26.99 with push button that lowers toll arm. Add multi-level track for over and under track bed action. Also outstanding, Waterfall Tunnel ($27.99) with knob on top that makes water appear to "flow"; and a Deluxe Roundhouse with sounds ($120). You may also want to add the new Sodor Blocks ($50), a set of 49 wooden blocks with a stone façade for making bridges and tunnels. (800) 704-8697.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2005 Award
Tiny 'n Tuff Fast Tracks
(Mega Bloks $29.99 Score:) A big cleverly designed container that doubles for storage as well as play is chock full of ramps and blocks for making a variety of super roadways that can cascade from the lid with built-in sound effects. Comes with two vehicles and highway signs. You’ll need to build it for 2’s but even 3’s will need help getting the ramp-ways built. Their Tuff ‘n Tiny Garage ($19.99 3.5) would have been a gold winner, too, but it is labeled for 1 & up. This is a toddler/preschool toy well beyond a one year old. The garage has built-in sound effects that won’t drive you to drink. It’s a colorful play setting with a working elevator, gas pumps, car wash, and ramps that attach in multiple ways. Comes with one vehicle but will accommodate many others. This can be a free standing or become part of the more complex roadway of the Tiny ‘n Tuff Fast Tracks set. Two and a half and up. (800) 465-6342

Age: Toddlers,Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

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2006 Award
Shake 'N Go Speedway
(Fisher-Price $39.99 Score:) This is a closed system with looping tracks, but the upside is kids can use the cars off the track, too. Kids loves the two innovative cars in this racing set that have to be shaken to make them go. Does this mean no batteries? Sorry, Charlie! Still, this is going to make a memorable gift and a better choice than electric trains for this age. 4 & up. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Thomas & Friends Tidmouth Timber Yard
(RC2/Learning Curve $49.99 Score:) For older train players this is a must-have prop! The wood splits (courtesy of a plastic saw and magnets). The crane is then used to pick up the timber and load the trains that come by. Very, very neat but will be difficult for 3s to use independently—a better choice for 4s and up. Also great fun (and easier to operate), Thomas & Friends Sodor Cement Works ($39.99 )—“cement” drops down from the mixer onto the waiting train below. Fans of castles and trains will also enjoy the new Rolf’s Castle Bridge ($44.99 ) with a castle wall that comes down and a moat below (of course!). (800) 704-8697.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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2006 Award
Double Suspension Bridge
(Brio $25 Score:) This is the longest bridge in the line—three and a half feet long! Can also be used side by side for two-way traffic. Also new, the Speaking Station ($30 1⁄2) A smart station master speaks in English, German, or French, depending on the city shown above the ticket master’s window. Our tester liked the new Stop & Go Station ($16.50 ); with a simple push button the train is locked into the station and then released to go. For the techno-minded engineer, there’s a new sleek Remote Control Express Train, but it was not ready for testing. Still one of our favorites for drama on the tracks, the Collapsing Bridge ($20 ) With a press of a button, the bridge really does collapse. Great for suspenseful train rides. PLATINUM AWARD ’05. (888) 274-6869.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2006.

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Tonka Toughest Mighty Crane
(Hasbro $29.99 Score:) Our tester thought he had broken the crane when a piece came off in his hand and he could not put it back on. Although he loved the crank action, it did not hold his interest for long and was soon classified as “broken.” Sadly, this is not up to the classic name of the Mighty Tonka! 3 & up. (888) 836-7025.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Thomas and Friends Water Tower Figure 8 Set
(RC2/Learning Curve $39.99 Score:) This 25-piece set is a great buy and gives beginners a great place to start. Includes Thomas, a cargo car, water tower, and stone bridge for a figure 8. New for 2007, Edward the Great Set ($79.99, 29 pieces 41⁄2) features Edward & Spencer with Duke and Duchess Coach Car and Furniture Car; we’d pass on the Rheneas & the Roller Coaster Set ($129.99, 32-piece set 3) which looks great but the trains are hard to maneuver; Storm on Sodor Set ($179.99, 35-piece set) with tunnel, tumbling trees, breakaway shed, and collapsing windmill was not ready for testing. Still top-rated, Deluxe Aquarium themed set ($299 41⁄2). Call in the grandparents! (800) 704-8697.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Geotrax All About Trains Motorized Starter Set
(Fisher-Price $24.95 Score:) A classic 20-piece figure-8 set with 13 pieces of track, motorized engine and trail car, yield sign, crossing sign, gantry with crate, coal loader and crossing gate. Comes with a wonderful live-action DVD (see p. TK for fuller review). A great value! Still top rated, GeoTrax Workin’ Town Railway ($39.99 4) This 30-piece set comes with a bridge, station, and windmill. Our testers found that it is possible for the train to get caught in a loop and fitting the tracks together is more challenging than with wooden tracks, since these only fit right side up. That said, kids liked the many features of this set and the flexibility of extending the system with other settings, such as the GeoTrax Coastal Winds Airport ($24.99 41⁄2). Marked 21⁄2—we’d say it’s a true preschool set. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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2007 Award
Thomas and Friends Load and Sort Recycling Center / Echo Tunnel /Sodor Fire Sta
(RC2/Learning Curve $49.99 Score:) Three pieces of cargo slide through the Recycling Center ($49.99 5) and magically drop down the can, paper, or glass chutes and onto a waiting truck. Clever use of technology with a built-in message! Also great fun, Echo Tunnel ($49.99 5). Our tester loved speaking into the tunnel and hearing his own words echo back! There are also a train whistle and rackety track sounds that echo as trains run through the small tunnel that fits into any track set-up. One parent noted: “The ability to record one’s voice is so much fun for this age.” Also wonderful, Sights & Sounds Deluxe Fire Station ($69.99 5). An alarm activates lights and sounds of the fire crew with their fire truck and fire train. Switches above the doorways turn on lights and sounds, and open the double doors. 3 & up. (800) 704-8697.

Age: Preschool,Early School Years. Award Year: 2007.

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